Race #2: Hypothermic Half Marathon

I was happy (& surprised!) when I managed to talk my new teacher-friend Kaitlyn into signing up for the Hypothermic Half Marathon in Edmonton on February 7th. I needed a training plan (& accountability buddy) to get my butt in gear, & it definitely worked! Besides a few weeks over Christmas, I stuck to my 12 week plan pretty consistently. I followed the same plan for my first half marathon last year, and have found that it works well for me. It calls for a 3:1, walk:run ratio, but I followed a 2:2 ratio for most training sessions. Combined with teaching aquafit twice a week, & experimenting with kettle bells & free weights, I was in great shape by the time February rolled around.

A few days before the race, I received the best surprise in the mail from Darla; a running necklace with my birthstone! I wore it for good luck on race day.

runningnecklace

Kaitlyn & I headed to Edmonton on February 6th and picked up our race kits & some last minute purchases at the Running Room. Next, we made a stop at Chapters, then had a delicious dinner at Chianti’s on Whyte Ave. (One of the best parts about running a half marathon is the excuse to carb load the night before!) We called it an early night & tried to get some sleep, since we’d signed up for the Early Bird Run at 8:00 a.m..

We both slept pretty fitfully, but woke up in good spirits. After a quick hotel breakfast we headed to Highlands Golf Club where the announcer let everyone know that this race would be the warmest Hypothermic Half on record. (Woohoo!)  Kaitlyn intended to run the entire race at a faster pace then my 2:2 plan, so I started just behind her. While the weather was beautiful as the sun came out, the roads were pretty icy in spots. I managed to keep pace with Kaitlyn for the first 3 miles, then intended to take a quick walk break . . . but I just kept running. The route required two laps of the course, and by the second lap I could still see her ahead of me, but was falling a bit behind. I concentrated on enjoying the moment, and willing my legs to get me up the big hill one more time. The last three miles were (and always are) a test of will. At that point, I refused to stop for a walk break and relied on some gummies to keep me going. Some spectators with funny signs were a welcome distraction when my legs went numb with about 1.5 miles to go. I was watching my Timex running watch and could tell I wasn’t going to beat my time of 2:18:38 from last April, but willed myself to keep moving and to stay positive. I could still meet a different goal; I could actually run the entire 13.1 miles! I figured that I could run for just 5 more minutes. Just. Five. More. Minutes. Then it would all be over.

I dug down deep and sprinted the last couple hundred metres, leaving everything I had left in the tank out on the course. I came across the finish line & finally received by Yeti Medal before collapsing (literally) onto Brian, who had made the two hour drive to surprise me at the finish (He really is the best). Kaitlyn came across a few seconds later, & we high-fived, tried to shake out our legs, & took some celebratory pictures. It was a perfect finish to 3 months of hard work.

posthypohalf

It was a terrible cruelty that the clubhouse was at the bottom of a set of steep stairs; thank goodness for handrails! We made it down to enjoy our post-race brunch & soak up the endorphins.

My official finish time was 2:20:51 & I was finisher 72/125 participants in our heat. But most importantly, I RAN AN ENTIRE HALF MARATHON! My bucket list goal of running an entire 10 k race is now checked off. I did over double that! Far too often, we underestimate ourselves.

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”                                     -Thomas Alva Edison

Race #2 of #16racesin2016 was a success.

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SCUBA Training: Part 1

My new mantra: Write down what you want to achieve. Then, take steps to make those things happen. 

I’ve wanted to learn to Scuba dive for ages, but always put it on the “someday” list that I keep in the back of my head. This year, I’m following my strategy from 2015 of making a list of the things I want to accomplish, then taking concrete actions to make those goals a reality. With this in mind, I actually signed up for my Open Water Diver course from SDI in January!

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”
― Jordan Belfort

Last Friday, I headed to Edmonton for the first day of my certification course at The Dive Outfitters. Cheryl & Ross, the instructors, were both extremely welcoming and helpful. We learned about the different pieces of Scuba equipment, and how to assemble them. At first, “O” rings, BCDs, & regulators were foreign and intimidating, but that quickly vanished. We had a quick break and reconvened at the NAIT pool for an easy 200 m swim test. Next, we donned the equipment for the first time and slipped into the pool’s shallow end. We practiced breathing through the regulators underwater (absolutely terrifying at first!) and removing & clearing our masks underwater.

scubabin

Saturday began with a classroom session, then back to the pool. This time, we performed a 10 minute “float test” of treading water in the deep end, which wasn’t too difficult thanks to my years of lifeguard training. We partnered up with dive buddies (Thanks George!) & got our Scuba gear on standing up. Holy moly! The full BCD unit plus a tank of oxygen is heavy! We practiced stride entries into the water, then went through a series of practice drills. Then, it was back to The Dive Outfitters for a final classroom session on Dive Tables. They’re designed to help divers to calculate safe lengths & depths of consecutive dives. They were tricky at first, but I think I’ve got the hang of them now.

By Sunday, I was starting to feel more comfortable. We had a final classrooms session in the morning, and a final pool session at 11:00. We spent the majority of the time trying to achieve neutral buoyancy, and playing with our dive computers to achieve proper ascent/descent rates and equalization.

“To breath underwater is one of the most fascinating & peculiar sensations imaginable.”

-Tec Clark

We also practiced skills in a cold water hood & gloves, since all Scuba diving in Alberta lakes requires this equipment. Finally, we went back to The Dive Outfitters for a final review & paperwork.

I was terrified of breathing underwater at first, but by Sunday I was kicking around the perimeter of the pool, hovering only a foot or two above the bottom.

scubapool

Now, I have six months to complete the outdoors portion. This calls for a trip to Jasper, the BC coast, or somewhere hot! Stay tuned.

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